Sand In the Wheels? Initial unemployment claims jumped to 439k, a 23% jump from last week's initial 355k figure. It will be blamed on Sandy's impact. Or Obama's, whichever.
Protesting, Protesting, Protesting: Anti-austerity protests by students, workers, unions and the fed up all over Europe poured into the streets today. In Milan things were violent, while trains stopped or ran slowly throughout Italy. There were no commuter trains in Lisbon. Madrid, Athens, Naples, Bologna, Barcelona and others saw 10,000's to 100,000's in the streets. Workers in France took part in demonstrations to show solidarity with workers elsewhere. International rail service was hit by strikes in Belgium. Austerity is not accomplishing anything but to tear at the fabric of society. Even the Jordanians are in the streets, protesting an increase in the price of fuel, demanding the PM's resignation.
One Good Turn: Pakistan has announced that it now has its own armed drone program. Let's hope they keep theirs closer to home than we do.
Almost Over: The US Conference Board says the miracle of the BRICs has begun to fade and will be followed by a dramatic slowdown in the next decade, but that's a happier picture than they painted for Europe. Germany was the designated winner, as France and Britain flounder and the PIGS sink slowly into the Mediterranean.
If, Then: If the US fiscal problem is that revenues are too low, and it is, then President Obama's $1.6 trillion increase on taxes for the rich and (tax dodging) corporations over the next decade is a fine place to start. That it's twice what Boehner offered in private in 2011 doesn't matter – that was then, this is now. Or right soon, anyway. Spending cuts and increases in middle-class taxes should wait until unemployment drops to 6% and the country's GDP is regularly hitting 3% - and no matter what the corporate CEO's hiding behind “Fix the Debt” say, Social Security must remain untouchable.
Nice Guys: After John McCain promised to “do everything in my power” to block any attempt by Obama to appoint UN Ambassador Susan Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, President Obama said, “Go ahead, punk. Make my day.”
Get That Education: Government financed student loans now exceed $500 billion, and now the kids can pay 10% of their discretionary income for 20 years and then let the taxpayers cover the rest. And then there's the hundreds of billions in government-guaranteed student loans that are going bad at rates above the typical graduation rate, so we'll be paying for education that they didn't even get.
Power To The People: Demonstrating one of the primary flaws of popular democracy, nine of Wisconsin's Tea Party legislators want to arrest federal officials if they enter the state intent on
freeing the slaves implementing Obamacare.
Datapoint: A new Census Bureau report credits Social Security for keeping 27 million Americans out of poverty. Not SNAP (food stamps) or the TANF (needy family program that replaced AFDC when that program was gutted in the 1990's)– but Social Security. Now, it seems, is not the ideal time to start whacking away at this essential program.
… and I'm here to Help: Rick Perry (you might remember him as one of the herd of wannabees) said that making the poor and unemployed pee in a a bottle was a “core mission that has been entrusted to us by the people...” Nice to know was the Governor of Texas' priorities are.
How Are EU Doing? Not well, the EUs combined industrial output fell 2.&% m/m in September
Porn O'Graph: The view from here.
The Parting Shot: